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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UN Court Exonerates Serbia

THE HAGUE -- The United Nations' highest court Monday exonerated Serbia of direct responsibility for the mass slaughter of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica during the 1992-95 Bosnia war, but ruled that it failed to prevent genocide.

In a lengthy ruling, the International Court of Justice said the leaders of Serbia had also failed to comply with its international obligation to punish those who carried out the genocide in July 1995, and ordered Belgrade to hand over suspects for trial by a separate UN court.

It specifically referred to General Ratko Mladic, who oversaw the Bosnian Serb onslaught at Srebrenica and is wanted by another UN court.

It rejected Bosnia's claim for monetary reparations, however. "Financial compensation is not the appropriate form of reparation for the breach of the obligation to prevent genocide," the judgment said.

Serbia "should have made the best effort within their power to try and prevent the tragic events then taking shape," in the UN enclave, the scale of which "might have been surmised."

Judge Rosalyn Higgins said it had been clear in Belgrade that there was a serious risk of a large-scale slaughter in Srebrenica, where some 7,000 Bosnian Muslims were killed.

But Serbia "has not shown that it took any initiative to prevent what happened or any action on its part to avert the atrocities which were being committed," the judgment said.